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Some thoughts after a production

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Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby Krolik » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:43 am

Hello, the last couple of months I have been working in Clarisse for a major production. I thought I'd collect some thoughts and experiences from that. It's from the perspective of a lighter but also scene setup.

My main grievance is the camera. It really needs to be improved. It can be almost impossible to place lights, especially in narrow corridors. My solution was to place locators in Modo and then parenting my lights to those in Clarisse. Other lighters used Maya for the same thing. I also created a cloud of boxes in Modo to use as navigation points in Clarisse. That way I could zoom around my scene quite comfortably. I recommend looking at the Modo camera for inspiration, it's extremely well designed with it's trackball style rotation. You never get lost in space there. Or the Houdini camera, which has a fancy HUD with arrows and rotation circles. It also has advanced controls for setting focus.

Combiners. They are good but also confusing. There really should be an easy way to select elements that is in the combiner. I had to craft a very special UI layout to make this happen. It can be very hard to light a scene with hundreds of big rocks in a combiner. If I could just select a rock I could place my light there. Also combiners should respect the visibility settings. Useful when I create matte objects. As it is now hidden objects in the groups become visible in the matte objects and the renders comes out wrong. So I have to create specific matte groups with exactly the objects I want. The override button doesen't work, it turns every matte object completely visible.

Saving an unfinished render. I would like to be able to save my image to the image history before it finished rendering. It's a huge waste of time to wait for the last buckets in the corner to finish. Maybe even a render under mouse function, like in Mantra, Vray and Modo.

Centered pivot point for imported alembics. As it is now the pivot always ends up at the origin which makes it tricky if I want to do some minor layout changes. I can get around this by parenting, zeroing out and unparenting the object, but it gets tiresome. Maybe there is a better way.

The spacebar. This cost me a lot of headache. So if I hit space bar I will look through that light or object. Very nice. But the problem is that I also need to hit the spacebar in the image to pan it around. What often happen when I try to move the image I also select looking through my light, but I don't know that I didn't. Half an hour later I wonder where my light is and it turns out I have been moving around the light all this time. This happens mostly when scene gets heavy and a little bit laggy.

And a final little thing. Its great that motion blur samples is on the raytracer now. But if you could change the wording from samples to maybe temporal steps or something. It confused a lot of people who thought it was an antialiasing sampling specially designed for motion blur. Render times went up a bit.

But it was a great experience, the amount of data we let Clarisse handle was just stunning. We really pushed it to the max, crazy amount of geo and textures.

I hope you find my feedback useful
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby sam » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:13 am

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your feedback! Can you please tell me the version of Clarisse you are using as it seems most of your remarks have been addressed since a while.

I'd really like to understand why you have issues placing lights. Did you know you can snap them (and any item) on any surfaces?
About the camera naviguation, have you used the Pick Fit tool? This tool is specially designed for navigating in the 3D View. Now about focus, Clarisse cameras provides a Focus Object allowing you to focus the camera on an arbitrary item. Combining this with the snapping feature it's very easy to place the focus where you want.

Now about the combiners. By default, combiners acts as a dynamic geometry merge. This is the reason why combiners overrides visibility flags. Still you can change this behavior by changing Sub Item Rendering Mode from Override (override sub item settings at Combiner level) to Use Sub Item Settings (use item visibility/render flags). This works for scatterers too and the neat features is that it works hierarchically for nested combiners/scatterers. About selecting items in Combiners/Scatterers, while in select mode, you can use Z + click to actually select the real item underneath. I advise you to look at the tool tip help displayed in the 3D View (first line of the 3D View HUD).

If you wish to save an unfinished render in the image history, there's a snapshot button in the Image View toolbar (looks like a camera). Rendering buckets under mouse cursor is planned in our roadmap.

For ABC items and generally all scene items, you can center pivots by using Animate > Center Pivot to BBox. This works on a multiple selection.

About looking through item, this is true the shortcut might be confusing. However it only works on the 3D View and space only works in the Image View. What I mean is you can get inside a light from the Image View. One thing to know is that on the bottom on the 3D View, the HUD displays if you are looking though an item.

About motion blur are you talking about the Motion Blur Sample Count? If that's the case, then this settings is to set the number of time samples Clarisse rendering engine will use to interpolate positions and rotations. This has indeed nothing to do with the quality of the AA sampling. The more samples, the smoother the rotations etc... In most cases, the settings shouldn't be changed as 3 is good in most cases. Here is an example of undersampling: (in this example the propeller wasn't transformed but deformed)


Hope this helps,
Sam Assadian
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby ahen » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:14 am

I'd like to second the comment about the frustration of having the spacebar be the hotkey for looking through a light. Its happens VERY often that a light is moved accidentally this way. Please use a less frequently used hotkey than spacebar for this function. Try this > select a light in the 3d view, go to image view and pan the view (press spacebar) - now we're looking through the light and moving it! :o

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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby fjutel » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:48 am

Hi Ahen.

Thanks for the feedback. We have reproduced the problem #6669 and the only solution would be as you propose to change the shortcut for the Look Through Item. What would you propose?

Florent Jutel
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby ahen » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:55 pm

Thats a good question. Do you have a list of hotkeys? I think anything that isn't already used would work - it's not something most artists need to do that often.

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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby daaims » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:07 am

"L" like "Look Through" perhaps ?
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby support_team » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:33 am

Please find the shortcut reference card attached.
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby ahen » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:49 pm

L sounds good to me too. I dont' see how it would conflict with "layout" in the material editro (you'd 1st select nodes then hit "l" in that case).

Thanks for the list of hotkeys!
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Re: Some thoughts after a production

Unread postby rim » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:43 am

Shifting lookthrough to be L would be much appreciated from most artists I imagine - you have to constantly be careful not to accidentally nudge something you don't want to with it being spacebar, so moving it away from there would be great!
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